David Harsanyi

Nevertheless, at this point in her career, the 89-year-old was still a columnist for Hearst newspapers. A columnist offers provocative views. You don't have to like Thomas, and you don't have to read her columns, but having a disdain for Jews in general or Israel in particular is hardly the most offensive thought that's kicking around.

Though I don't hold an earthly stake in debates over God, Bill Maher's ludicrous anti-Catholic rants or a tome from a polemist like Christopher Hitchens (who condemns all religion as a dangerous farce) might be "appalling" to rather large swaths of the public. Are certain topics off the table?

Of course, I am not suggesting that Thomas has a birthright to sit in the front row at a White House news conference (a situation that hasn't made sense for at least three decades) or that anyone has an inalienable right to pontificate about the world for a newspaper chain or anyone else.

And no, I can't mourn the loss of Helen Thomas' detestable opinions. But at the same time, I can't help but feel some trepidation about the ease in which some voices -- in this case, one voice that is probably more honest than others of similar ideological disposition -- can be expelled from the conversation simply for offending.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of "Nanny State." Visit his website at www.DavidHarsanyi.com. To find out more about David Harsanyi and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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